Anticipating: creating the travel journal

Putting together a travel journal for a planned trip or holiday is rapidly becoming part of the anticipation of the upcoming trip.

When I travelled last year, I started the practice of travel journalling, pre-preparing a journal with pages that were reminders and prompts to look at things from different perspectives – through all my senses, not just sight; to keep observing, to keep noticing, to jot down my thoughts at least once a day.

The purpose of the journal is to intentionally capture the moment and experience, not write perfect prose.

I tried this out for the first time on a work trip to Namibia and then again when I went on a work conference to New Zealand – both last year (2018). Our road trip around Scotland is my big adventure this year, so this week I took some time to set up a travel journal for the trip. Not only does it give me a few hours of “me time”, but it also makes me count the days until the trap, adding to the anticipation!

The first step is choosing the actual journal. My son bought me a cute journal covered with South African Shweshwe fabric for Christmas which is the perfect size for this trip. After I’ve allocated initial pages for titles and so on, the next few pages always feature a hand drawn calendar for the duration of the trip entitled “Highlight of the day“. From everything that may happen on any given day, I have to choose just one element to add to this calendar. The calendar becomes a snapshot of the trip.

I have stickers and tags in the journal with hints for writing about various parts of the trip – these are ideas I’ve used based on inspiration from Cathy (wander.essence) and Dave Fox’s Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals.

Incorporating a theme

This year I’m going to try something else new, with the idea of linking the journaling and photography. It’s easy when we travel to capture the big scenes, but so often these are the same scenes that everyone else will photograph too. I want to look for something different that makes Scotland unique for me – a theme of sorts.

Hmmm, what type of theme? This is the tricky part. I’ve done so many themes before for my 365 projects and I don’t really want to revisit any of them – I want something fresh and quirky.

A while ago I bought a book called “How to be an explorer of the world” by Keri Smith. In the opening pages she lists how to be an explorer of the world, and many of the items resonate with my own approach of paying attention by being curious, open and aware of the world around me. That’s probably why I bought the book in the first place!

I’ve shortlisted a number of ideas from the book as possible themes. I’m not sure which I’ll go with yet – I’ll let that flow out of the experience. I will of course report back here on how it all pans out.

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9 thoughts on “Anticipating: creating the travel journal

  1. josiegrace7 says:

    Hey DH

    I love this concept of journalling your adventures …intentionally seeing things in a different light…

    I find God leaves little surprises all over for me to find … a flower growing in the “wrong” place … a bird I notice … little things that remind me He loves me…things that He knows that I will like …

    I am so happy 4 u … that your hard work has paid off … to give u this time … precious time to live love and enjoy

    Btw Chairs are a cool theme to photograph on a journey


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne says:

    You are a far more organised ‘scribbler’ than I am for you do it with INTENT – I look forward to you sharing your Scotland adventures and those highlights that will fill your pages – I tend to scribble travel notes mixed up with bird lists, menus, lists, snatches of conversation … and sort them out afterwards. Your keen eye will doubtless pick out some special photographs too!

    Liked by 1 person

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